demonstration

Amy’s Story: Shocked

I was walking my dog and my step-mother’s dog on the lawn. My dog was on a leash and I bent down to pet him. As a vehicle drove by, a male voice shouted “Bend over!”

I was so shocked that this was happening in a residential neighborhood in Winthrop Maine that I wasn’t able to react. As the vehicle drove off (I can’t even remember what it was), I flipped my middle finger, but it didn’t make me feel better.

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Becky’s Story: Not impressed

A few months ago, I was just walking down a street and minding my own business. When I heard shouts behind me, I turned around and saw a car driving past with about four men in it shouting comments like “Alright, Sexy”, and “I’d smash your back doors in”. I was fifteen at the time, and even though I’d had a few looks and comments before it really scared me, and I was really shook up by the whole situation. Something should definitely be done about this, it may be seen by men as a bit of banter, but it’s completely insulting and derogatory. A few if my friends have also had experiences like this, and none of them have been impressed.

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demonstration

Claire S.’s Story: Assaulted outside a bar

On Sept. 12th, 2011 at roughly 11:30 PM I was walking to a bar on Congress St. I had dropped off two friends, then went with another to park. Walking to the bar after parking, I was approached by an unknown male, very obviously chemically impaired (glassy eyes,profuse sweating.) He was initially shouting about being kicked out of one of the bars, then realized I was Trans* and started unleashing a string of transphobic slurs and threats, telling me that I did not belong in that part of town. At one point he physically confronted me, bumping his chest into me and shoving me. A very firm knee to the groin did not deter him, nor could his companion, a short man, convince him to stop. Fortunately, the woman I was walking with entered the bar next door and dispatched the bartender, who promptly dialed 911 and came out to assist, causing the assaulter to flee down an alley.

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HG’s Story: “All the things I would have liked to say”

I was walking from the metro to my apartment today when this gross guy came up behind me. I knew he was saying something to me but I just pretended not to notice him because I was wearing headphones. Then he started speaking really loud so I could hear him over the earphones: “You’re a really beautiful woman.” I’m positive this ugly mofo thought he was doing me a favor but it was just embarrassing. I just pretended not to notice him over my music even though he was in my face. I arrived at the entrance to my apartment and went inside.

This happens to me a lot in the 2 minute walk between the metro and my apartment and it’s infuriating. I pledged to speak up the next time one of these perverts was close enough for me to confront them (they often just things as they drive by). But in that moment, I couldn’t do it. I thought, if I piss this guy off, he’s going to know where I live and it will only make things worse. I was so angry at myself because immediately after I got home I thought of all the things I would have liked to say to him. More than anything, I wanted him to feel mortified like he made me feel in front of my own home, without letting him know he had gotten to me. Here’s what I would have like to have said:
Smiling like I was interested, I’d say “You’re pretty confident, aren’t you?”
And he’d respond with some kind of “Yes.”
And then with a straight face, I’d love to have said: “Well you shouldn’t be. You’re shorter than a 4th grader.”

Maybe next time I’ll have the courage?

WE NEED A HOLLABACK LA. This city is filled with creeps.

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Virginia’s story: “Just waiting for the bus, please leave me alone!”

On a daily basis I encounter this. Guys slow down in their cars expecting to pick me up. Or they stare. Are they even watching the road? I know its not groping, or stalking, verbal, or assault(though I definitely felt the threat of that before). But it bothers me to no end… I mean, it really gets me down. On days like this when I get home I cry. Because it happens OFTEN. Every time I wait for the bus now, its like its increasing. On a normal week where I do nothing but school that would be maybe 12 times, often more, in a week that I have to face this. The other day I was only standing at my front door to check the weather and this happened…

One of the things that sickens me the most is that I am 19 years old, but I look young, and I think I am being target for that. I seriously look like a freshmen in high school, in other words, a minor. And they still target me! Sick!

It seriously depresses me that this is the kind of world I have to live in for the rest of my life. I feel more afraid of threats then I ever have in my life… or I mean, aware.

I sometimes wish I could pull out a sign that says “Just waiting for the bus, please leave me alone!”

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Anonymous’s story: He ruined my vacation

A year ago I went on vacation with my dad to Las Vegas, it was the first vacation I’ve had ever since I was a 6, (16 when this happened) and was even able to go with my dad whose job has him all over the world much of the time. So I was trying very hard to make this a good experience for me, one which I would look back fondly on for years. This guy ruined the whole post-harassment part of the vacation for me.

So my dad and I were at the Excalibur Hotel/Casino on the Vegas Strip, we were heading out of the building after a show to go back to our hotel to get dinner and sleep. My dad had to use the bathroom, so I just sat down on the steps by the bathroom, and waited. I was next to the slot machines, and I noticed a man staring at me from there. He was likely in his 40s or 50s, and was balding with gray hair. A bit nervous, I pulled out my phone and tried to look busy. I heard “Hey.” and looked up to see him right above me. It was hard to understand him through his thick accent, but I’ll never forget my heart dropping into my stomach when he said: “You have… very beautiful legs. They’d sure look nice wrapped around me.” (I was wearing jeans and boots, not a skirt or anything revealing.) Luckily, I didn’t need to think about what to do, because my dad came out of the bathroom right after. My dad said “What’s going on? Who’re you?” to him. The man was obviously shaken by the sudden appearance of my 6″1′ tall, 225 lb dad. He said “I wasn’t doin’ nothin’.” and backed off. As we left my dad shot him the most threatening look he could. I remember just getting to our room in the MGM Grand hotel and crying my eyes out, my dad was furious that this was able to happen. I had never experienced anything like this in my hometown, I mean I’ve had catcalls coming from men in cars when I was on the sidewalk here, but I never felt truly threatened. I was genuinely afraid that somehow this man would get into our room and rape me. It was sort of a wake-up call that I’m not as safe in public as I thought. We made a point to never separate for the rest of the vacation, and I’ve been so much more cautious ever since.

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demonstration

Katie’s Story: Not harmless

Every time this happens to me, I wish I did something different. I was walking home alone at 1am in a nice residential part of the city in a zipped hooded sweatshirt and corduroys, no skin showing by my face. I hear the slowing of a car coming up behind me and I feel this immediate sinking feeling, thinking oh god, here we go. A man in the car rolls his window down as he pulls up next to me, I continue to walk staring straight ahead, hoping he’s stopping for any other reason than to cat call me. “Hey, want a ride?” And immediately, I said “No”, continuing to walk and stare ahead of me. “Really?” I started to seethe. “YEAH, REALLY.” The man scoffs and says, “WOW” and drives away. I flipped him off as he drove away, wishing I had brought my can of pepper spray. It’s an abomination that this happens to women every day in the U.S., the constant degradation of women that is ignored as being harmless. And I wish I could say this were the first (or last time) this happened to me.

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Shannon Elizabeth’s Story: Justified anger

I had been sitting on a bench reading. I was in full sun and was getting rather hot, so I decided to head back to my dorm. As I got up and started walking along the path, I noticed a man coming towards me in the opposite direction. I didn’t take too much notice of him. Until the moment when I directly past him and noticed he had his penis and balls out of his pants, rubbing one out looking at me as he walked past. It all happened so quickly, I was already past him before I realized exactly what had happened. I suddenly became conscious of how short my shorts were and how a little bit of my mid-drift could be seen. But I told myself that shouldn’t matter. That guy was a pig-headed creep, getting off on girls in a public park. If I had been still sitting, and my experience more prolonged, I would like to think I would have called him out, brought attention to what he was doing in hopes that would shame him into stopping. But seeing as this is my first encounter with street harassment, maybe I wouldn’t have been that gutsy. But it is because of organizations like Hollaback! that I am gaining confidence. After I left the park, I found I was really angry and almost wanted him to come back and try again so I could scream in his face. And because of Hollaback! I know that that anger is justified. Thank you for empowering women to stand up to street harassment and for providing a forum for women to share their stories.

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Miia’s story: Just trying to get on the bus in Helsinki

I don’t know if this counts as sexual harassing… but I might say that when I suffer from schizophrenia and I have been a victim of bullying and harassing all my life, I really don’t know.

I was waiting for a bus to Helsinki on a dark winter evening, when a young man who as obviously drunk came up to me and asked: “Hey, what bus are you waiting for?” As you might know, I got really queasy and decided to walk to another stop. When I left, I heard him say; “Well look at that, I just ask a simple question and…”

Now I would ask a simple question; why on Earth would any man in his right mind ask such a stupid question? Why are you suddenly interested in what kind of bus am I taking?

A couple of weeks ago I went to buy new shoes, vegan biker boots for kicking ass! I had some extra money left so I went to buy a couple of cans of carrot juice, my favorite drink.

Outside the shop there was a young hippie- ish man talking to a cellphone, I stopped next to him to put some garbage into the dustbin, and suddenly he yelled: “Hey girl, you! You in the red tartan cap! You know very well I am talking to you!”

I was getting a bit anxious, but didn’t mind him. I walked to the escalator, he ran after me yelling at me, I ran away and cried for help, and I made it to the bus stop without him following me.

Well, it’s no wonder I hate men so much!

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demonstration

Katherine C.’s Story: “Am I really going to sweat the day away because some nasty people shamed me?”

I’m new as a college freshman here in Providence, and I thought I’d begin my Saturday morning with a long walk through the city, just to get the lay of the land. I have very long, very thick dark blonde hair, and I left it down to dry from my shower; it was a warm day, so I wore a tank top and shorts.

I walked for a while with no problems, enjoying the day and taking note of all the architecture. After about a half hour’s walk, I entered a part of the city I didn’t know at all. All of a sudden I realized that I was the only woman on the street, and that there were several groups of men, young and old, standing together along the sidewalk in front of me. I always feel nervous when walking by such groups, but I took a deep breath and walked forward.

Every group that I passed harassed me. They called my a slut and a whore in English and in Spanish, said obscene things about the length of my hair, and some even followed me a little way up the street. Drivers of cars started honking at me. After about ten straight minutes of this, I decided to turn around and go home (I also tied my hair back to avoid attention). A couple of young men who apparently had been watching me approached me and asked why I was turning around- was I lost? Did I need directions?

I was relieved. I thought, oh, phew, here are a couple of men who aren’t going to threaten me! But when I said very politely that no, thank you, I was just looking around since I was new to the city, they started leering at me, asking me if I wanted to come with them and “have some fun.” No thank you. Meek smile. Walk on.

As I passed through that same area again, I still got the leering looks, the hey baby’s, the get in the car bitch. I had started out so comfortable in my own skin, with the breeze in my hair and the fresh air on my arms and legs. Now all I wanted to do was hide.

When I finally got back to my dorm room, I found myself slapping my hair up into a severe bun and dragging long pasts and a long-sleeved shirt from my dresser. But then I stopped myself- that’s what they wanted. Am I really going to sweat the day away because some nasty people shamed me?

So I went on with my day. But it makes me so fucking angry that there are places I can’t go, in broad daylight, because I am a woman. And I couldn’t hollaback or even take a picture, because I knew no one would help me, and I was too damn scared.

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